Ms. Schumer had a terrifying run-in with a “fan” last week.
The comedian was out and about when, “This guy in front of his family just ran up next to me scared the s*** out of me. Put a camera in my face. I asked him to stop and he said, ‘No it’s America and we paid for you‘ this was in front of his daughter.
“Great message to your kid,” she added. “Yes legally you are allowed to take a picture of me. But I was asking you to stop and saying no.”
She originally said she would no longer take photos with fans, but has since modified that to she’ll take pictures with “nice people.” This illustrates the co-dependent relationship between stars and their fans, who can either make their career or do them serious harm, and even murder them in cold blood. And there’s no real way a celebrity can tell the difference.
It’s long been this way. Sylvester Stallone told Roger Ebert once that every time someone [a fan or “outsider”] touched him, his hand automatically balled into a fist. And Cliff Robertson, described by famous screenwriter William Goldman as one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, said he is always wary when out in public, looking around at who’s watching him. The advantage “they” have, he told Goldman, is they know who you are, but you don’t know who they are.
The man who took the selfie with Schumer,Leslie Brewer, has his own account of what happened. He claims he pulled out his camera to Instagram the sighting of Schumer, but backed off when she asked him to. “She says I got all up in her face, and it was completely different from the video.” Brewer posted an edited clip where he grins into the camera as he says, “Sorry.” Schumer then asks, “Can you delete that?” It’s followed by a shot of him saying afterward, “Then she got mad at me.” The post is captioned, “Amy schumer just got mad at me and cussed me out lmao!!! Awesome.”
It doesn’t end there.Brewer says Schumer began walking away but then turned around and returned. She apparently wanted to turn the tables on him, saying she was going to take her own picture of him and share it with her four million followers.” And he now says, “You’re a celebrity. I understand you want to blast me but that’s petty, that’s beneath you.”
Messy, no matter which version happens to be true.
One of the reasons we’ll never really know celebrities—and one of the things Entertaining Welsey Shaw is about—is that they’re under this hyper-intense light of observation all the time, with standards that are different than the standards applied to the rest of us. To some extent this is justified: the law defines public figures—and affords them levels of protection—differently than ordinary people. They don’t have the same expectation of privacy. But they do not give up all their privacy when they choose fame, or fame chooses them.
But fans will always feel they owe us a level of devotion that’s higher than what’s expected of ordinary people. They’ve got the two things we all think we want, after all: money and fame. If a superhero has superpowers, he’s obligated to use them to save us. All the time. No matter what.
For that reason, we’ll never see them as “people,” and they’ll never be judged the same way as everyone else. So we can never really know them. What we see of them is like a hall of mirrors, distorted by what we expect, what they want to show, and what we feel they should show.
But every time an incident like Schumer’s happens, the line of what’s expected and what’s okay changes, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. This 24/7 social media world is making it increasingly difficult to define what’s acceptable interactions for stars and their fans—and what is not.